Will A Maternity Belt And Belly Band Actually Help With Back Pain During Pregnancy?

by Nov 13, 2019

 

Understand the difference between a maternity belt and a belly band for relieving low back pain in pregnancy. Maternity belts and bands may be harmful to your baby, so it’s important to know exactly what they do and how to wear it correctly. 

 

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

 

You know that belly bands and maternity belts are a common product for women experiencing pregnancy pain, but are you a bit skeptical if they work or not? You may be wondering if they do more harm than good. All you want to do is take care of yourself and your baby and ultimately feel better for the last few months of pregnancy. But the nagging pain just keeps getting worse, and you can’t take it anymore. Maybe a belt can help support your back and your growing belly and relieve the pressure that you are feeling. 

I’m a physical therapist with experience in prescribing braces, bands and belts to my patients, and I want to make sure you have an in-depth understanding of what these products do, the benefits, the risks and how it can help you to have pain relief during pregnancy.

Related: Pregnancy Pain? Who Do You See: Physical Therapist, Chiropractor or a Massage Therapist?

 

What Is A Belly Band? 

A belly band is a garment that is used to help extend the length of the pregnant woman’s wardrobe. It is a band of material that is flexible and cloth-like that wraps around the lower portion of a pregnant woman’s belly to cover up skin that may be exposed when wearing a shorter length shirt. 

One important thing to be aware of is that a belly band provides little to no support and does not help with pain relief. It’s sole purpose is for extending the life of your wardrobe (during pregnancy and even into postpartum).

Often times this term “belly band” can be misused and referred to as a band that helps relieve back pain, but that is not the case. No research has ever proven that a belly band aides in pain relief during pregnancy.

What Is A Maternity Belt? 

 

A maternity belt is designed to be worn by pregnant women to help support their lower back and abdomen especially in the second and third trimesters as the baby continues to grow bigger. It is shaped to fit the lower region of the abdomen and waist and is made of a more rigid material.

How Does A Maternity Belt Help With Back Pain In Pregnancy?

 

Because of the extra weight gain during pregnancy and the laxity in the ligaments from the increase in the hormone Relaxin, pain tends to increase in joints such as hips, pelvis and back. 

The support belt helps to stabilize the pelvis by the added compression of the belt. 

With this support, you should experience a reduction in pain now that your body is realigned properly. 

Just so you are aware, maternity belts can also be known as pregnancy belts, pregnancy braces or pregnancy straps. These are more rigid belts to be worn during pregnancy and can be worn under or over clothing. 

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    Benefits Of Wearing A Maternity Belt 

     

    1. Decrease low back pain which is the ultimate reason why most pregnant women decide to wear a maternity belt.

    Research shows that “71 percent of women report low back pain, and 65 percent report pelvic girdle pain” during pregnancy

    Spinal Journal 

    2. Provide compression which helps reduce fluid buildup, a common problem during pregnancy.

    3. Provide external cues for posture and acts as a reminder to maintain an erect spine.

    4. Help you to perform daily activities more comfortably since you have added support while standing and walking.

    Can A Pregnancy Belt Hurt The Baby?

     

    Yes, it can, and here’s why.

    A maternity belt that is too tight may not allow your baby to grow to his fullest potential. The restriction from the belt can affect your baby’s development according to BabyMed.

    Your baby and womb will not be able to grow if a maternity belt is worn too often or too tightly. But if you wear it properly according to the directions and wear it minimally, you and your baby are safe, and there’s no cause for concern.

    Continue reading further down to find out how long a maternity belt should be worn for each day. 

     

    Important Tips To Remember About Wearing A Maternity Belt

     

    1. Always ask your doctor before wearing one and get his or her medical clearance.

    2. Be sure to do your research on which product is best for you.

    3. Wear a maternity belt or belly band for 2-4 hours a day (don’t become reliant on the brace). Your goal is to wear it as infrequently as possible.

    4. Do not exercise while wearing a belly band or a maternity belt, but remove it before you begin your workout.

    5. Commit to regularly scheduled exercise that is safe to do during pregnancy.

    6. Strengthen your core muscles the proper way to avoid further strain.

    Related: The Best Beginner Core Exercise Recommended For Moms

    7. Avoid injury or activities that cause worsening of pain.

    8. Speak to your doctor after delivering your baby regarding whether or not you will need a maternity belt or wrap during postpartum. 

    9. If pain persists for 1-2 weeks while wearing the belly band or maternity brace, schedule an evaluation with a physical therapist about your pain to diagnose your underlying issues.

    In Conclusion

     

    So, I hope by the end of this article you understand the following important tips:

    1. A belly band is for wardrobe changes only and not for support.

    2. A maternity belt is more rigid, supportive and is meant for pain relief.

    3. Maternity belts are to be worn minimally and according to the package directions (not too tight).

    4. There is always a risk of harming your baby if wearing a product incorrectly.

    5. Ultimately, the best way to reduce pain during pregnancy is through exercise and core strengthening.

    6. If pain persists, seek medical advice from a professional such as a physical therapist who can evaluate you to determine the underlying problem and treat the pain more effectively than a brace could.

    7. Remember to consider a postpartum belly wrap for support after giving birth to your baby.

    Related: 11 Best Postpartum Belly Wraps and Girdles

     

    Be sure to listen to your body when it comes to pregnancy pain. Don’t overlook it and don’t let it go on for too long. The longer that pain continues to persist, the more difficult it may be to fix it. 

    There are great products and great treatment options out there for you. And keep in mind that your pregnancy does not have to be painful. You can have relief. I’ll be praying for your as you seek out the best option for pain control. 

    You may want to continue reading how you can self treat your SI joint pain with these 5 exercises prescribed by physical therapists. This is a great start to getting pain relief right away. 

    Do you have more questions that maybe I didn’t cover? Comment below, and I will be sure to answer any question you may have about maternity belts, belly bands and even postpartum belly wraps.

     

    Keep Smiling,

    Dr. Jena Bradley, DPT

     

     

    This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

     

     

    **It is important to always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program and get medical clearance. Always warm up thoroughly and stretch after all workouts. LiveCoreStrong.com and Jena Bradley will be not be responsible or liable for any injury sustained while exercising at home, gym or elsewhere. Perform exercises at your own risk.

    About Dr. Jena Bradley
    About Dr. Jena Bradley

    Jena is a mom of 4 darling little girls, a physical therapist and founder of Live Core Strong, a blog focusing on motivating moms to live a life that incorporates fitness and fun throughout their motherhood journey.  She aims to be the friend you always wanted to have who could guide you through the “fog” when faced with an “I don’t know what to do” mommy moment. At the most inconvenient time of her life, she embarked on a journey of sharing her story and expertise to inspire the next generation of healthy moms. You can learn more about Jena by visitng her ABOUT page. 

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